Manchester City was keen to sign the Argentine forward but it now seems as though he will extend his contract with Barcelona at the Camp Nou
According to a report by Manchester Evening News, Manchester City have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of legendary Argentine forward Lionel Messi after he agreed a 50% pay cut to stay at Barcelona.
Pep Guardiola had been keen to reunite with Messi, whose Camp Nou contract expired at the end of last month and is currently a free agent, with the player very open to a move to City last summer when he tried to publicly force his way out of the club.
But after an impressive season with his boyhood club, Messi is seemingly happy once again and has now reportedly agreed a new deal with the club that will extend his stay for three seasons in La Liga.
According to Sport, Messi and Barcelona have come to an agreement on a new five-year deal despite the player initially hoping for a three-year-deal before exploring ending his career in the MLS. Messi is now happy to see out the final years of his career in Catalunya and is expected to retire at the club.
Messi has also agreed to take a 50% pay cut due to the financial problems the club is facing, with the Copa America winner believing that he must lead by example to help the club out in their time of need.
While the deal is not definitively closed, it is believed to be very advanced and incredibly unlikely that it won’t now go through. The release clause in the contract will be €350million.
City had cooled their interest in the 34-year-old after it became apparent that he preferred to stay at Barcelona, but had the option become realistic then Guardiola’s side will have been front of the queue to sign him.
Their striker search has now turned to Harry Kane and Erling Haaland, with both players likely to cost in excess of £150m if a deal is possible to do at all.